Honoring CFO Tina Knudsen

LISD bids farewell to Chief Financial Officer Tina Knudsen after 25 years of service
Posted on 12/14/2020
District News Release

LISD bids farewell to Chief Financial Officer Tina Knudsen after 25 years of service Tina Knudsen honored at retirement

At the regular meeting of the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees Monday night, LISD bid farewell to Chief Financial Officer and Former Interim Superintendent Tina Knudsen. The recognition event honored Knudsen’s 25 years of service to the school district. She formally retires in January 2021, but her last day in the office will be December 15. 

While the pandemic prevented a larger gathering to mark the celebration of her retirement, the Board and district leaders honored Knudsen at the meeting with a tribute video featuring heartfelt remarks and memories by former LISD staff and colleagues Phil McBride and Jessica Neyman as well as Superintendent Mark Estrada. 

McBride worked with Knudsen from 1998 - 2007 when he served as the assistant superintendent of operations. When asked about what he respected about Knudsen, he answered, “....her absolute, straight-arrow ethical standards. Tina would not cut a corner to save her life, and in a finance director, that is a trait you absolutely must have. By being that way herself, professionally and personally, she set that example for her whole staff, which was very important.” 

Neyman, who was the LISD human resources director from 2008 - 2011, and later an LISD Board member from 2012 - 2016, shared, “One thing I would say is a trait of Tina is she is who you want as your co-pilot in a crisis. Tina is calm and cool under pressure. She is uber-reliable.” She later added, “She is someone who is a fantastic colleague. She is someone you want to go to work with every day. I would also describe her as someone who becomes more than a colleague. She became a dear friend of mine.” 

“What I love about Tina is her honest feedback. Tina is very predictable with consistently being open and transparent with our finances and how we lead our district. I think that her honesty and transparency are why we have been so successful in our finance department. Her commitment to this community, to the taxpayers, is extremely deep, and every decision she makes is in the best interest of the Lockhart ISD Community. I so appreciate that about her,” shared Estrada. 

After the tribute, Knudsen was presented with an engraved crystal vase as a district token of appreciation for her commitment along with 25 pink roses--one for each year of service. Additionally, the district presented her with a customized cake featuring a cruise ship as a nod to one of Knudsen’s greatest passions and one of her intended activities in her retirement.

Her husband Chris Knudsen, daughter Clear Fork Elementary Teacher Michelle Stephenson, son-in-law Patrick Stephenson, and their two sons were in attendance at the event. Other family members living out of town were unable to attend and had participated in a family gathering on the weekend leading to the celebration.

In her final remarks, Knudsen shared, “It has been a pleasure working with all of you over the years, and I wish you all the very best. I’m not going away. I have a daughter who is a teacher here and a grandchild in Lockhart public schools with another one coming up the way soon. I plan to volunteer when COVID is over.”  

LISD hired Knudsen as an accountant in 1996. She was promoted to chief financial offer in 1998 and remained in this position until her retirement. In this role, she additionally served as interim superintendent for six months in 2015 during a time of leadership transition. 

As the chief financial officer for the district, Knudsen was responsible for an annual budget of approximately $67M and a department of eight staff responsible for payroll, benefits, accounts payable, accounting, investments, capital assets, purchasing, risk management, and records retention.  

Knudsen was responsible for the completion of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).  The CAFR has received the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting for 15 consecutive years.  The certificate is one of the highest honors a school district can achieve.  Less than 10% of school districts in Texas complete a CAFR.

Additionally, under her leadership, Lockhart ISD has earned a “Superior” Schools Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) rating from Texas Education Agency for 18 consecutive years. The legislature authorized the FIRST to assess the quality of financial management in Texas public schools; measure and report the extent to which financial resources assure the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes; ensure a system that fairly and equitably evaluates the quality of financial management decisions, and increase overall financial accountability within Texas’ public education system. 

In her spare time, Knudsen and her husband of 37 years enjoy cruising, traveling, reading, arts and crafts, and spending time with their 3 daughters, sons-in-law, and 5 grandchildren with one more on the way.  

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